Japan finance minister Aso sorry for criticizing childless

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso has reluctantly apologized for saying childless people are to blame for the country’s rising social security costs and its aging and declining population.

Aso said Tuesday that he apologized if some people found his remarks “unpleasant.”

The gaffe-prone Aso, who is 78, is among conservative lawmakers in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government who have at times blamed the elderly or childless for long-term demographic trends.

Abe himself has acknowledged that lack of access to affordable child care, excessively long working hours, elder care and other realities of life, especially in Japan’s biggest cities, are major factors behind the country’s low birthrate. But promised labor and other reforms to help alleviate the burden on families that discourage couples from having more children have made limited headway.

Categories: International News